A state-wide law concerning wireless phone prevention for drivers went into effect Tuesday and it may be difficult to implement, said Boulder Police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site, House Bill 1094 prohibits drivers 18 years of age and older from using a wireless telephone for text messaging or “other similar forms of manual data entry” while operating a motor vehicle. For drivers under the age of 18, wireless telephones may not be used for any purpose.
“If you are an officer outside the car, it can be a difficult thing to prove,” Huntley said. “Somebody might have their head down but you cannot necessarily prove they are bent over texting on their BlackBerry.”
Huntley confirmed that police would need “clear evidence” for the law to be enforced.
“Someone would need to volunteer the information to the officer or the officer would actually have to observe the texting,” Huntley said.
According to the bill, violators will be subject to a $50 fine plus a $6 surcharge for a first offense and a $100 fine plus a $6 surcharge for a second offense. Exceptions to the bill include reporting a fire, traffic accident, road hazard or reckless driving, according to NCSL.
Kathryn Blackwell, a 19-year-old sophomore advertising major, said she is certain an offender could avoid a texting violation.
“Someone could easily just not admit to the police that they were texting and say they were just looking down because they dropped something on the floor,” Blackwell said. “The police just wouldn’t have enough evidence to prosecute.”
Blackwell said that despite the lack of evidence, she would confess to the violation.
“I’d be so nervous not to admit it,” Blackwell said. “I would freak out and get so nervous because cops intimidate me.”
Lindsay Braun, a 19-year-old sophomore ecology and evolutionary biology major, said she admits to texting on her mobile device while operating a motor vehicle.
“Text messaging while driving has become a bad habit but I probably need to break that habit because it’s not very safe,” Braun said.
Braun said that regardless of her texting habit, enforcement of the law is necessary.
“It is definitely a great law because texting and talking on the phone is responsible for a lot of accidents,” Braun said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kylie Horner at Kylie.email@example.com.